Ireland 16, Wales 16: Gatland and Schmidt frustrated as draw ends Grand Slam and Triple Crown hopes

Ross McLean
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Ireland v Wales - RBS Six Nations
Rhys Priestland kicked 11 points for Wales in Dublin (Source: Getty)

Disheartened Wales head coach Warren Gatland could not hide his frustration at his side beginning their Six Nations campaign with a draw despite wiping out a 13-point deficit against injury-hit Ireland in Dublin.

Ireland led 13-0 after half an hour courtesy of scrum-half Conor Murray’s try and eight points from the boot of Johnny Sexton before Wales retaliated through a converted Taulupe Faletau touchdown and three Rhys Priestland penalties.

Wales held a 16-13 advantage only for Sexton to level matters with a penalty six minutes from time, securing the first draw between the two nations since 1991 – a result which quashes hopes of a Grand Slam and Triple Crown for both sides.

“Not satisfied at all. I’m flat at the moment. It’s disappointing. It’s not a loss but it’s taken a couple of trophies out of the cabinet already,” said Gatland.

“You can’t win the Triple Crown and you can’t win the Grand Slam. So the whole focus now is making sure you have got a chance of winning the Championship.”

Gatland also confirmed that influential Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar is an injury doubt for Saturday’s clash with Scotland after limping off in the opening period.

No team has ever won the Six Nations having drawn a match, although Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was more concerned with the six-day turnaround facing his title-holders ahead of their tussle with France in Paris on Saturday.

Schmidt said: “Statistics won’t affect our recovery and it won’t affect our preparation for France. But to have a six-day turnaround and to have to go to France with the athletes they have is going to be a monumental task.”